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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 3072


Mr CHAMPION (Wakefield) (17:47): I commend the member for Makin for moving this motion about flooding in the Adelaide plains, because this region contributes greatly to the whole of South Australia. We just heard from the member for Boothby, who paid tribute to the ADF—Army and RAAF—personnel and CFS and SES personnel. We all thank them. But, amongst all of those thankyous to the community, there was this weird sort of partisanship injected into it. I do not want to inject partisanship into this, because the management of this river system has never been partisan. It will affect not just one government, but many governments. It will affect not just one generation of politicians, but many generations of politicians in the decision-making process. Of course, for the people along this river, whether they be in Gawler or Virginia or anywhere else, it does not matter how you vote—water does not respect how you vote, or your partisanship; it floods you regardless of that, and so you look to governments of all persuasions to do the job.

When the Howard government—and Jim Lloyd was the minister at the time—contributed $7.8 million to building the Bruce Eastick dam, a dam named after a conservative icon in Gawler, Mr Bruce Eastick, that was a good thing. When I opened that dam with Patrick Conlon and the councils involved, that was a good thing. This dam has been very useful—I went out and looked at it when the floods were on—for mitigating floods in the past. The tragedy of it is that we know that this system floods, and we know that it costs the community money.

The latest report by the Gawler River Flood Plain Management Authority, in March 2016, recounts that a once-in-a-10-year flood will cost $15 million, a once-in-a-20-year-flood will cost $24 million, a once-in-a-50-year flood will cost $102 million, a once-in-100-year flood will cost $182 million and a once-in-200-year flood will cost $212 million. The annual average damage is $7.4 million and the present value of damage is $109 million. Those costs are there for everyone to see. We know, as the member for Makin pointed out, that putting infrastructure in place can mitigate those costs. We know from this very report, which talks about channel modifications, talks about levies and maps out the costs of those things, we have a preliminary cost to fix this problem.

If we were to enlarge the Bruce Eastick North Para Flood Mitigation Dam, it would cost $40 million. The damage reduction for a 100-year flood will bring it down by $51 million so this mitigation dam could be paid for by the cost of one year's flooding in effect. We know that building strategic levies will cost $19 million but the damage reduction will be $24 million. We know both of those mitigation engineering works have cost benefit ratios of 1.25 for the strategic levies and we know the enlargement of the Bruce Eastick North Para Flood Mitigation Dam would cost $1.3 million. Both of them have good business cases and both of them would not protect all of the horticultural land but they would expect at least protect the townships of Gawler, Two Wells, Virginia and it would protect some of the horticultural land. It would go some way to providing a community response. More work needs to be done down near Virginia on channel modification and the like, and we call on the management authority to look at that seriously because it is worthy of consideration.

We have had the Prime Minister in the electorate and we have had the Leader of the Opposition in the electorate. Both of them have committed rhetorically to flood mitigation works. Rather than having a partisan debate in this chamber, as the member for Boothby wanted to do, we should be having a bipartisan debate about what we will do, what we will build. We can name the infrastructure after conservative politicians. We might name a section or a levy bank after a Labor politician. We might name it all after community members and family members who have done so much work on this flood plain. But we need to get on with building these engineering works that will prevent flooding.